First Look: Vintro Hotel & Kitchen, a boutique art hotel on Collins Park

 

Vintro Hotel & Kitchen offers a playful pastiche and ample outdoor space for locals and travelers alike in a South Beach neighborhood keen on arts and culture

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By Shayne Benowitz | shayne@shaynebenowitz.com

A new jewel box of a boutique hotel has opened quietly on the periphery of South Beach’s Collins Park neighborhood. Tucked behind the Bass Museum of Art and the Miami City Ballet on Park Ave., Vintro Hotel & Kitchen (2216 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-9200) is filled with Pop Art and Art Deco ephemera as soon as you step foot in the lobby. Drawing upon the talents of curator Zoel of Rokk Star Enterprises and Miami historian Seth Bramson, the hotel’s aesthetic is a vibrant pastiche that manages to be thoroughly modern while holding a reverence for the Miami Beach of years passed. 

Take the "Memorabilia Mural," for instance, that photographer Andrew Soria was commissioned to create on a wall in the lobby. It’s a photo collage depicting typical vintage Miami Beach bathing beauties and Art Deco towers, and it also narrates the particular history of Vintro and its neighborhood's origins. 

“This neighborhood was once called the Tenderloin,” explains Heather Davis, director of community and cultural relations for the hotel. “It’s where all the musicians used to come after performing at the big clubs on the beach. This is where Embers, Wolfie’s and Hickory House was.” 

In the 1930s, Vintro was the Park Ave. Hotel and today a restored neon sign still glows red on its cream and khaki Deco façade. The mural also depicts Bill Jordan’s Bar of Music, a dueling piano joint adjacent to the Park Ave. Hotel. Through the side garden overlooking Collins Canal, the original dance floor is still there and a part of Vintro’s property. “We plan to have live music in the garden in the evening and yoga in the morning,” Davis explains. A vintage airstream, lounge chairs and sand volleyball court round out the yard, as well as Vintro-branded bicycles free for guests to use. 

While the property is boutique at 50 rooms, the ample outdoor space makes it feel far more expansive. The hotel’s design team did an excellent job making the sometimes mucky, iguana-laden Collins Canal a charming venue for its restaurant’s back patio, highlighting an often overlooked South Beach view. With twinkling lights hanging on long chains and a tile mosaic of JFK looking out at you from the all-glass wall that leads back inside the restaurant, it’s an ideal setting to read the paper with your morning coffee in the shade of lush green seagrape and silver buttonwood trees. 

Under the tutelage of restaurateur Giorgio Bakatsias and chef de cuisine Keith Suarino, the restaurant’s kitchen is Mediterranean-inspired with a dining room that’s all Old Florida. Menu highlights range from carpaccio di pesce with ginger, yuzu, apple and birdseye chili to a lamb burger with goat cheese, caramelized onions and thyme. The signature dish is a whole Florida red snapper. In addition to the restaurant, there’s also a lobby bar and reading room for guests to linger in on the main floor.

The 1,450 square-foot rooftop, which can host events of up to 175 people, is brightly designed with grey and white-striped daybeds, pops of sunshine yellow and alternating strips of Astroturf and limestone tile. Hammocks, woven in a rainbow of colors, swish languidly in the breeze, offering views of Collins Park from three stories up. Separate murals depicting Bob Marley and Venezuelan Grand Prix motorcycle World Champion Jonny Cecotto add to the whimsy and the cool factor of the space. 

The hotel’s lone watery oasis comes in a tiny, yet well-designed plunge pool on the roof with an infinity edge overlooking Collins Canal. (Dedicated beach service is also available with chairs, umbrellas and towels included in a $20 resort fee. An in-ground pool is also in the works).

After riding the elevator, fashioned to resemble shelves of an eclectic bookstore, a rainbow candy-striped hallway leads you to white lacquered doors with oversized room numbers in bas relief. The rooms are spacious and the one- and two-bedroom suites (495 square-feet and 677 square-feet, respectively) feel bigger than most South Beach apartments. Inside, yellow and white cabana stripes extend from wall to ceiling for a bright and playful affect and the bathrooms feature sexy picture frame glass showers offering a peekaboo into the bedrooms (beware of who you share a room with).

Art is infused into every single guestroom with large color-saturated works hanging above the beds—photographs of Miami Beach’s lifeguard stands, waves curling dramatically in the ocean and vintage babes, like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot. Each room also has a catalogue of the hotel’s entire art collection and everything is available for purchase. 

Vintro (the name was derived by combining “vintage” and “retro”) is truly a delight for the senses with endless discoveries in its bric-a-brac—a model yacht, a photo of Bruce Lee, a bonsai tree, and the public spaces beg to be lingered in, which is the whole point. “We wanted to make it approachable,” says Davis. “It’s a place to hang out. You can come by paddleboard on the canal, throw your board up and grab a drink or swing by for lunch. We want it to be a place locals want to come to. We’re friendly.” Take her up on that offer and go see for yourself. We recommend it.

Vintro’s introductory rates start at $199 per night and the one- and two-bedroom suites are priced starting at $335 and $425 respectively.

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